Firefighters stop traffic to raise money for Muscular Dystrophy Association

Tony Parra

Scorching heat did not stop the Portales Fire Department from trying to “Fill the Boot” on Tuesday.
The department is placing firefighters along busy Portales intersections to collect money in an annual fund raiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Firefighters will be working in shifts from 1-5 p.m. today and Thursday at the intersection of Ave. C and 2nd St. intersection.
“They’re fantastic,” Portales Fire Department Chief Battalion Jesse Mowrer said about the Portales firefighters. “Most of them have a great time dealing with the public. Every person (firefighter) will have an opportunity to help in the fund raiser.”
Firefighters Lance Hill and Melissa Clark worked on Tuesday with temperatures reaching up to 90 degrees and only a 10 mph wind to cool them off.
“It’s not too bad,” said Clark, who has been working for the Portales Fire Department for a month. “It’s worth it. It’s been an excellent department to work for. It is a positive atmosphere.”
Each firefighter held a boot while vehicles drove by, allowing drivers and passengers made donations. They placed bills and coins in the boots and gave drivers a sticker which read, “Thanks for helping fire fighters fight muscular dystrophy.”
“It’s going good,” Clark said about the donations. “They’re (Portales people) making a lot of donations. The people have been friendly. A lot of civilians have helped out.
“Sometimes we have had the cars backed up during a green light, but nobody’s honking. They have been real understanding.”
Muscular dystrophy is an inherited disease that causes increasing weakness in muscle tissue. The muscles affected are the skeletal muscles and, occasionally, the muscles of the heart, according to Britannica.com.
The fundraiser is an annual event. The Clovis firefighters participated in the event last week and after Saturday had raised over $10,000. Portales firefighters raised $4,872.89 in 2002 and $5,236.20 in 2001. This is the third year for the event in Portales. A cashier’s check is sent to the Muscular Dystrophy Association in Amarillo at the conclusion of the fund-raiser.
“I’m not really sure what our goal is,” Mowrer said. “We just want to give everyone an opportunity to contribute if they can.”
A different set of firefighters will work today and Thursday in an effort to top last year’s total.
“Every little bit counts,” Fire Chief Steve Beaty said. “We found out that it is better to raise money on the weekdays than on the weekends. We’re going to make a good effort to collect as much money as we can.”